Make Engaging Visual Content Part Of Your Social Media Strategy!
Just like good images help bring a blog post to life, engaging visual content is vital to taking your social media presence to the next level. But knowing how to create social media images that support your brand can be difficult to ascertain, as great visuals are only as good as the social media strategy that supports them. For example in order to understand ‘Faded Spring‘, I would need to find out what its brand identity is, which at first glance is a colourful lifestyle blog that focuses on topics such as dating, mental health and personal life. This brand identity is evident on my blog but I would need to figure out whether it resonates with my social media channels too, as there needs to be a consistent theme, narrative and purpose across all my channels, which for the most part I believe it does. This is because my blog and social media channels (like other companies) don’t just have a brand identity, but a visual language too, whether that be through the use of an ‘editing style’, writing style, theme or even timing. This visual language is backed up by a visual strategy, which I will take you through below.
Like novels, the key to creating good engaging visual content is by ensuring that it has timing, a clear-cut theme and shows clear evidence of ‘giving the people what they want’.
For example, in order to create engaging visual content that is aesthetically appealing and has the potential to perform well on social media, you really need to think about the following:
What Do Your Audience Want?
Although we start by creating content out of passion, our passion projects are then seen by others, who later down the line have a deciding say on the type of social content that they do and don’t like, which can help you shape your social strategy depending on what you want to achieve. For example I create content because I enjoy it, and most of the time my non-sponsored content is on topics that I want to talk about, as opposed to what my audience is asking me to write on. But I do also check my traffic and stats, as well as checking in with my audience to see the type of content that they respond to, to create content that is mutually beneficial for both me and my followers. For example on my blog people respond well to posts that are personal, focus on dating and relationships or are on mental health because these are topics that many readers resonate with. And it is the same with social media too, while my theme and style of writing is the same, I use social media to promote my blog and give my audience an insight into my life, hence not only reinstating my brand identity but also my visual strategy. In regards to social media, if your aim is to grow your following, have viral posts and connect with bloggers, then a key part of your visual strategy is doing audience research.
To start with ask your followers what their interests are, what kind of content they respond to and think about the visual content they would like to see. For example everyone knows that my visuals are colourful, out of the box and different and if I was to change my theme completely and become minimalist and monochromatic, this would probably freak out my audience because they know that is not me. So think carefully about how your content represents you and how you can combine that with giving your audience what they want.
How Can You Take Advantage Of Free Tools and Resources ?
Alongside audience research, one of the best ways to up your social media game – whether that be Pinterest, Instagram or Twitter- is to take advantage of the free tools and resources that are out there to create engaging visual content. Whether you are just starting out or are a seasoned pro, blogging can be expensive, and it can be financially draining to hire a graphic designer to create custom content for your brand, if you are on a tight budget. Which is why you should take advantage of the free tools and resources that I have listed below which will help develop your visual strategy in the best possible way. From resources offering free fonts that would be perfect for Pinterest images to websites that offer free branded social media images, here are three resources that will help you create engaging visual content.
In order to create the best images for social media posts, why not elevate your aesthetic with premium free fonts to create engaging visual content? With handwriting font that is premium quality, free and easy to use, Font Bundles has a range of different fonts available that you can use for any social media channel, such as the Happy Popcorn Handwritten Font below. After all typography is an art, and is just as important as creating a great image, drawing attention to the engaging visual content that you have shared on social media. Fonts, especially free fonts are a great resource to use for Pinterest images because it involves ‘scaling’ which refers to the deliberate sizing of elements within your design such as your font and font placement. Scaling helps bring certain elements into focus and shows your audience what concept you are trying to convey. For example lets look at the fabulous ‘Free Stay at Home Movie Night Printable‘ created by Catch My Party, which has used scaling to emphasize the word ‘free’ and ‘stay at home movie night’. The placement is not only topically relevant, aesthetically pleasing and colourful but the keywords will generate traffic, be useful to their audience and is both an example of evergreen and viral content. This means that their visual strategy is also search engine optimized.
When it comes to creating engaging visual content on social media,it can sometimes feel like an uphill battle that can never be conquered. But don’t rule out social media, as data shows that visual content is better received by users, so creating aesthetically pleasing social media images might be a time-consuming task, but is a vital way of converting followers naturally and organically. Which is where Canva comes in, an easy social media graphic website, that uses a drag and drop tool to create everything from Facebook cover photos to Pinterest Graphics. Whether you want to get Pinterest users to click through your blog post, or simply pin your branded image and build up your following, Canva has thousands of Pinterest graphics in various shapes and sizes to help your brand stand out from the crowd. After all there are three million active social media users, so using Canva’s free social media layouts ( see below) will allow you to create stunning graphics in a matter of minutes that will leverage these users to check out your business.
Moving away from sites that create branded images, Lightroom helps you import, organize, manage and find your images, as well as allowing you to create ‘presets‘, hone your editing style and create a social media theme which I will go into more depth on later. This multi-purpose editing app is one of the best editing tools out there and while similar to Photoshop, it creates a photo catalog which shows all the edits you’ve ever made to a photo, has built in RAW editing, has a large number of presets which can help you determine your editing style, and is a faster way to edit photos that need ‘simpler edits’. While I didn’t use Lightroom for many years (given that my social images are ‘street art orientated’ and use ‘flash’ with a high quality camera, meaning that images are already well lit and only need basic edits), I started using it recently for images that had a new photography style, and I wanted the same vibrancy as I have for the aesthetic that I am known for now. Admittedly, if you are new to Lightroom it is quite difficult to use at first but the more you practice the more likely you are to use it to create visually engaging content for your social media and blog. And if you are a wizard with editing and photography, from a business point of view you can refine your edits into presets and sell them to your audience, naturally bringing new followers to your platform.
Create a Moodboard To Shape Your Visual Strategy
Creating a moodboard is useful for both new and experienced social media users, as it helps you create visually engaging content that determines who you are as a brand and as an individual, allowing your audience to have a better sense of your brand identity. Mood boards, whether you are creating it on a personal or professional level (or both) are an effective way to communicate the high-level aesthetic before the more detailed creative process begins. It can help you determine your theme i.e. the colour red, your genre r.e fashion and the message you want to convey r.e monochromatic fashion. It gives you a visual expectation of what your finished project will look like, how it can evolve and helps you outline an effective strategy to create visually engaging content that you can be proud of. For example take the app ‘Preview‘, a content planner app that helps you manage your Instagram content. While it is not a mood board technically speaking, I use it as one, as it helps me pick out colors, artistic styles, textures and other visuals to shape my artistic direction. For example, as you can see below, the preview app or my make-shift moodboard shows how my colour scheme transforms from red, to orange, to three complimentary shades of pink, giving my audience a rainbow of colours.
If you would prefer to create a moodboard the old fashioned way, the best way to kickstart your creative process is by choosing a focus word or theme. For example your focus word or theme needs to relate to your brand guidelines and should be a reflection of the brand voice , geared towards the target audience for your project. Let’s take the focus word ‘love’ as an example, where you are looking to create content that personifies love. You might choose the colours ‘pink and red’ to depict love and passion, use props such as heart shaped balloons, flowers, candles and couples kissing to adhere to the focus word and use captions detailing your love story or your wish of a happily ever after. Or you might choose a theme like ‘summer’ so use tropical inspired images, use a blue or teal colour palette and shoot in locations such as beaches, pools or parks to convey that theme.
Use the Colour Theory Model To Shape Your Brand Identity
Colour is undoubtedly an integral part of our lives, as it helps set the mood, conveys a series of emotions that are open to interpretation, creates an atmosphere and can even be personalized to who we are as individuals, evoking strong personal experiences from your past and present. When it comes to social media the use of colour is no exception, as followers can make a quick judgement on who you are as a person or brand, based on your use of colour and aesthetic design. For example when it comes to creating visually engaging content, the colours in your social media images tell a story; red depicts energy, urgency and passion, orange is seen as stimulation, domination and thirst for action, yellow is optimism, happiness and youthfulness, green is wealth, relaxation and fertility , blue is trust, security and serenity, pink is romantic, feminine and friendship, black is powerful, sleek and mysterious and purple is soothing, calm and magic. So you see everything from the colour of your images, to what you wear, is indicative of how colour personifies you. For example as I wear a lot of red, your quick fire assumption might be that I am someone who is passionate, loves to love and feels emotions intensely, which in your case that judgement would ring 100% true. But as I use and wear other colours, you will quickly realize that there is more to me that meets the eye, which is why the use of colour to create effective and engaging visual content is so important.
What Are Your Tips For Creating Visually Engaging Content On Social Media?
Please note this is a collaborative post with Font Bundles but all thoughts are my own and are not affected by monetary compensation.